Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Story of Chosun, Part 15

We continue with the history of Korea by picking up the story of the late 16th century invasion of that land by neighbor Japan. The first target of every nation's invasion of another is the capital city. Seoul falls, the royal family flees northward. Perhaps the Japanese become a little too comfortable with their new prize, for while they linger, the Korean military is able to regroup.

Meanwhile in the South, the Korean navy is busy building ships. It is this era that resurrects the unique "turtle" ship, an elliptical-shaped vessel with a "roof" of iron plates, making it - in those days - totally inaccessible to enemy damage. Over and over this impenetrable wonder is able to beat back much larger Japanese fleets.

The one who should be "world famous" Yi Sun Sin is the commander who promotes this and several other novel techniques for the navy, assuring that in this department there will be no loss. Twenty-three straight victories basically shut down Hideyoshi's dream of world conquest. This is not one of mighty China's dynasties here, but the indomitable folk of the Korean peninsula, incredibly spared by God for His purposes, which He has shown to be rich in Christ in the South already.

There is much guerilla warfare during these days but by and large, the Japanese work their will in the Korean land battles.

Finally China wants to help, not because of their compassion for Korea, but because they do not want Japan coming into China. They are hoping for Korea to control the situation, then allow them to move in and take the glory for it. To the northeastern border they send a small military presence but they do nothing but wait.

Slowly the tide begins to turn. Japan is defeated in the South. 100,000 reinforcements come from home, but Admiral Yi sinks 71 boats with his "turtle", issuing what is called the "death warrant" of the invasion.

Now China feels invigorated, and sends 5000 soldiers. Great friends these. But the army gets trapped inside Pyongyang & loses 3/5 of their force. There is a 50-day truce while the Chinese general brings a message to the Emperor: Japan, it is decided, will be a vassal state of China. The Japanese are less than thrilled with the suggestion.

In I592, December 25, China crosses the [northern border] Yalu River again, this time with a band of 43,000 , but only after the Japanese invasion spirit is already broken.

As Hulbert points out, China's help is unfortunate. Korea is just coming to life, but now China gets the credit and the rewards, while Korea leans heavily on them.

History has continued these trends, rivalry with Japan, dependence on China, through the years. Thank God the South was allowed to start a new trend. Liberty. Which leads to the preached Gospel. Which leads to a nation God can freely bless.

This we desire for the North!

Look for Bob Faulkner's home page on There you will find a combination of love for the Scriptures and a desire for North Korean believers to have their needs met. There are nearly 300 blogs, over 200 Bible teaching MP3's, lists of resources, NK picture albums, and ways to respond to the overwhelming need in North Korea. Let's love Chosun together! Contact me any time at

And who am I? A man found of God over 50 years ago, called to the ministry, serving the Lord as needed in my world. Married, member of a local church in the Chicago area, with full time work in public education. Would love to fellowship with believers who respond.

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